An OK Mobile / Cell Phone, But A Great Hand-held Console Bargain!
The Nokia N Gage mobile phone / games console was released in 2003 to a luke-warm reception. Seen by many as being neither an excellent phone, nor a great hand-held gamer, the N Gage was quickly superseded by the QD, and is now discontinued.
Were the critics too harsh? Mint second hand N Gage phones can be had for as little as £30, just add a SIM card, and you're away.
I bought a boxed N Gage with 2 games, leads, etc, for £40 at my local car boot sale, thinking about selling it on for a profit, but after using it for a few days, I'm going to keep it, and this review will tell you why you should get one too.
Let's get the bad points out of the first. The N Gage when used as a mobile phone is big and a strange shape. It's best with a Bluetooth headset / ear-piece or with the supplied wired hands free kit. To change the MMC card you have to take the battery out, then enter the time and date when you switch the phone back on. The N Gage has no built-in camera, and the supplied mini-USB lead will only connect you to the MMC card, so to use Nokia's suite of synchronisation applications you'll have to buy a Bluetooth dongle.
Right, now for the good bits. The N Gage has a built in radio (which you can record from), and a media player (mp3 & AAC), video player, It accepts MMC cards up to 1 GB, see compatibility list. It's got Bluetooth for swapping files, connecting to the PC, pairing with other devices and two-player games. The N Gage connects to your pc via a mini USB jack - easy. The screen is small, but bright with a very high resolution. It can access WAP internet, send e-mails. The N Gage is a tri-band series 60 symbian based phone. Phew!
As a phone I think the N Gage is ok, with all of the easy to use features you'd expect from Nokia. Text entry is a breeze, calls clear and loud, and hands free works well.
What I really like about the N Gage is the extras, the radio and mp3 player. You can record from the radio, auto or manual tune. Reception is clear, the antennae is the headphone lead, so it has to be plugged in to work. The mp3 player is hardware based, so it runs fast. It's a little basic, you can only go from one song to the next and not fast forward or rewind, but the sound is good & the N Gage even has a built in graphic equaliser.
The N Gage was launched as a mobile game deck, with titles supplied on MMC cards. There are loads of titles available, really cheap second hand on eBay, and thousands more java games available free.
The best feature of the N gage is its layout, like a proper handheld game console, like a Nintendo Gameboy or Sony PSP, so games can be played properly, with two hands.
The thing that makes the N Gage so good, and a must buy for any gamer, is its ability to run emulators and play old console & PC games, and because of its layout you really can play them properly, unlike on normal phones or pocket pc's, where the buttons are just in the wrong place.
I've installed a Sega Megadrive / genesis emulator and titles such as Outrun, Sonic, etc play great (although with no sound). I've also just put a Nintendo Snes emulator on my n gage too, and what can beat Super Mario World, Smash TV or Super Metroid?
The best game for your N gage? DOOM! Yes, you can play probably the best game ever on your phone, and the N Gage layout makes it even better to play than on the keyboard of your PC! It runs fast & smooth, you can save your games, and with the right WAD files Doom 2 and Final Doom can be played (as well as any custom WAD files I guess......
So there you have it. The Nokia N Gage is an OK phone, but a great Game console and good mp3 player and radio. Stick a 512mb card in it; load your favourite songs, Doom, and your classic Nintendo and Sega titles, all for under £50. Superb!!.